2019 Freedom Through Literacy Award Winners Named

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CONTACT:  Cathy Leiber

2019 Freedom Through Literacy Award Winners Named

Empowering Global Communities to Create Positive Reading Experiences

From Allentown, St. Paul and New York City … To Greece, Zimbabwe and Australia

July 27, 2019 — Lehigh Valley, Pa — Judith’s Reading Room names “Barbershop Books,” as Grand Prize Winner of the 2019 Freedom Through Literacy Award.  Led by educator and author Alvin Irby, based in New York City, Barbershop Books is a laser-focused community-based program that creates child-friendly reading spaces in barbershops involving Black men, Black boys and Black barbers.  Irby believes that “early positive reading experiences help children identify as readers and when children identify as readers they are more likely to read for fun.”  The Barbershop Books program currently has child-friendly reading spaces in 140 barbershops across more than 30 cities and 20 states, reaching over 5,600 boys per month.  Books are selected by young Black boys and Irby’s program provides early literacy training to barbers.  For his work, Irby is awarded the 2019 Grand Prize Award valued at $3,000.

The Judith’s Award — exclusive to teachers, librarians or authors — names Vicky Xanthopoulou, originator of “Let’s Play Book,” its 2019 Judith’s Award recipient.  The elementary school teacher from Potamia Village, Thassos Island, North Greece created the innovative project titled, “Let’s Play Book,” which combines in her words, “the innate impulsion of children to play with the need to penetrate the text and all book’s aspects.”  “Let’s Play Book” is the winner of numerous Greek literacy distinctions and is based on reading animations designed to cultivate shared values for her multi-cultural students.  Her work is essential:  there is no lending library in her village, so her original publications have proven to be essential in providing basic literacy tools.  For her innovative, creative and passionate work in a village with no library, Judith’s Reading Room awards Xanthopoulou the 2019 Judith’s Award valued at $500.

The Board Option Award with a total prize of $1,000 is shared amongst four visionary individuals. The winners of the 2019 Board Option Award are:  

Karen Brown, Caring For Cats Shelter Volunteer, “Cat Tales — Kids Reading to Cats,” based in North St. Paul, Minnesota.  At this no-kill all volunteer cat shelter, Brown provides books for children to read aloud to kitty cats while they consider adoption.  One mother wrote, “My son’s fondness for reading is rather small.  But the spot in his heart for cats is quite large.  I’m hopeful that this will help him learn to love reading.” She writes, “we provide an entirely different setting where the kitties and children are both primary program beneficiaries.”  Brown is awarded a 2019 Board Option prize valued at $300.

Kathleen Kapila, Librarian, Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, “LGBT Children’s Literacy:  Drag Queen Story Hour” based in Allentown, Pennsylvania.  “The connection between community and literacy is especially true for people with marginalized identities,” the application states.  Drag Queen story hours, in which drag performers read books to children, encouraging a love of reading and freedom of gender expression, speaks to the heart of the Freedom Through Literacy Award and to the life-work of Judith Krug, in whose memory Judith’s Reading Room was created.  As founder of Banned Books Week over 40 years ago, Krug’s favorite book to read aloud in elementary classrooms was And Tango Makes Three, a story of two male penguins raising a chick.  Kapila is awarded a 2019 Board Option prize valued at $300.

Sue Goatley, nonprofit leader, Children in the Wilderness, for her support of “St. Mary’s Primary School Library Enrichment Project,” based in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.  In the Hwange Region, where there is nowhere to buy books, St. Mary’s Primary School is a haven for its 845 students who rely on the school for opening up their world through books.  We recognize Sue Goatley for her work to provision a library in a country that does not provide government support for rural educational resource needs and for recognizing that even if the child cannot read, the idea of a book is “such an exciting prospect for them.”  Goatley is awarded a 2019 Board Option prize valued at $200.

Kulasekara Mudiyanselage Chanith Wijeratne, Author and Illustrator, for his project “Promoting Conservation Through Inspired Reading,” Essendon, Victoria, Australia.  Chanith, at the age of six, published Wildlife of Udawalawe National Park at Lens Range — the first-ever book about this globally popular National Park in Sri Lanka.Wijeratne has since completed 10 books on the wildlife of Sri Lanka, Australia and South Africa.   His attitude toward literacy is clear: “being able to read and write prepares us well to serve fellow human beings.”  We recognize Chanith Wijeratne, who is in Grade 12, as an accomplished author, naturalist, and role model for other children.   Wijeratne is awarded a 2019 Board Option prize valued at $200.

Judith’s Reading Room mission is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy.  To date, the organization has fulfilled that mission by establishing 97 libraries in 20 countries (and counting!) with 128,000 books donated valued at nearly $1.4 million dollars.  The Freedom Through Literacy Award, initiated in 2015 as the organization’s signature event, has disbursed $33,500 in prize money, honoring 31 individual champions of literacy in the United States, the Philippines, Bhutan, Pakistan, Rwanda, Cambodia, Mexico, Australia, Zimbabwe and Greece.

Visit Judith’s Reading Room Freedom Through Literacy Award for current award information!

Judith’s Reading Room Opens Library in Honduras

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CONTACT:  Cathy Leiber

Literacy Non Profit Dedicates its 97th Library
Judith’s Reading Room libraries are now found in 20 countries

March 25, 2019 — Lehigh Valley, Pa.  Judith’s Reading Room, established in 2010 to honor the memory and legacy of Judith F. Krug, a librarian, announced today that it has established a library containing over 400 books in the mountainous town of Zambrano in the Central American country of the Republic of Honduras.

Lafayette College Librarian, Ana Luhrs, a former member of the board of directors of Judith’s Reading Room, recently led a group of Lafayette students to build a curated library for exceptional women selected by village elders to attend The Leadership Center (TLC) in Zambrano.  Ana used the funds she was awarded as a winner of the organization’s 2018 Freedom Through Literacy Award to purchase books, among them autobiographies of women, and to create a culture of reading for pleasure. 

“Access to information beyond the classroom allows students to take ownership of their educational journey,” said Luhrs.  “Library collections, especially well-curated collections, provide a variety of perspectives beyond that of a classroom textbook and an instructor,” she added.

 “Judith’s Reading Room stands with the dozens of young women hand-picked to learn management and leadership skills at TLC so that they can become highly productive leaders in their country,” said Cathy Leiber, Co-Founder, Judith’s Reading Room.  “Thanks to Ana Luhrs, having a library at TLC which is packed with books to encourage a love of reading, students will be able to explore the world when there is little opportunity to leave their country,” added Leiber.

Since 2010, Judith’s Reading Room has dedicated 97 libraries in 20 countries.  The organization sponsors the Freedom Through Literacy Award which has disbursed $29,000 in awards to 25 individual champions of literacy.  Additional information and the application for the 2019 Award can be found at www.JudithsReadingRoom.org/freedom-through-literacy-award/

2019 Freedom Through Literacy Award Press Release

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CONTACT:  Cathy Leiber484-661-6151
www.JudithsReadingRoom.org


Judith’s Reading Room Seeks Applicants for its 
2019 Freedom Through Literacy Award

January 21, 2019 — Lehigh Valley, Pa.  Judith’s Reading Room, a 501 (c) 3 literacy organization founded in 2010, announced today that applications for its 2019 Freedom Through Literacy Award can be found online at www.JudithsReadingRoom.org/APPLY.   The prestigious award, that honors multiple winners, carries a total cash prize of $4,500.  Deadline for submission of applications is July 1, 2019.  

The annual Freedom Through Literacy Award — the signature element of Judith’s Reading Room — is open to individual champions of literacy including teachers, librarians, authors, researchers, educators and literacy nonprofits  — anyone who has done exemplary work to instill in others a love of reading.  

In addition to the $3,000 Grand Prize, the Judith’s Award worth $500, is limited to  teachers, librarians and/or authors, who are also eligible to win the Grand Prize.  The Board Option Award, totaling $1,000, was created to acknowledge the passion of our board members who are constantly on the lookout for individuals doing something exciting in the world of literacy.

Since its inception in 2010,  Judith’s Reading Room has dedicated 96 libraries in 19 countries and counting, with 128,000 books donated valued at nearly $1.4 million dollars.  Since 2015, The Freedom Through Literacy Award has disbursed $29,000 and has honored 25 individual champions of literacy in the United States, the Philippines, Bhutan, Pakistan, Rwanda, Cambodia and Mexico.

Winners of the 2018 Freedom Through Literacy Award Announced

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NEWS RELEASE  
CONTACT:  Cathy Leiber
2018 Freedom Through Literacy Award Winners Announced

Local Champions of Literacy Dominate This Year’s Awards

July 30, 2018 — Lehigh Valley, Pa. — Judith’s Reading Room proudly announces this year’s Top Prize winner of its Freedom Through Literacy Award is the Macungie, Pa Willow Lane Elementary teaching duo Julia Dweck and Matthew Weimann.  The goal of their project, “Release Your Fireflies,” is to creatively equip children to navigate a complex world through storytelling, paving the way for an appreciation of and lifetime membership in the universal library of human literature.  Top Prize award is $3,000.

Carin Mileshosky, Library Director, Fleetwood Area Public Library, Fleetwood, Pa (a Pa Library Association Gold Star Library) is awarded the organization’s Judith’s Award in the amount of $500.  The Judith’s Award, a new prize category this year, is designed exclusively for teachers, librarians or authors.  Carin’s integrated and fun-filled program, “FleetwoodSUMMER 2018,” attracted 180 individuals to attend creative programs; 150 of whom committed to reading over the summer, thereby reducing the negative impact of so-called “summer slide.”

The Board Option Award with a total prize of $1,000 is shared amongst four visionary individuals.  Christopher Dew for his boy scout Eagle Project, “Mini-Library for Lehigh Valley H.O.P.E.” is awarded $300; Ana Luhrs, Lafayette College’s Skillman Librarian for “The Leadership Center Library in Zambrano, Honduras” is awarded $300; Cheryl Stoner-Gutshall, Dover Area School District, for her project, “Outdoor Education Book Creator” is awarded $200; and, Marsha Townsend for her nonprofit, “Bringing Up a Bookworm” is awarded $200.

A celebratory award dinner will be held in their honor on Wednesday, September 12 at 6 p.m. at MELT, located at The Promenade Mall, 2880 Center Valley Parkway, Center Valley, Pa.  The public is encouraged to attend the dinner.  To reserve your space, a check made payable to Judith’s Reading Room in the amount of $45 per person must be mailed to P.O. Box 164, Blandon, PA  19510 and received no later than Wednesday, August 29.

Judith’s Reading Room, a literacy 501 (c) 3 based in eastern Pa was founded in 2010 in memory of Judith Krug, first cousin to the founders.  The mission of Judith’s Reading Room is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy.  To date, the organization has fulfilled that mission by dedicating 96 libraries in 19 countries (and counting), with over 127,000 books donated and valued at nearly $1.4 million dollars.  

Since 2015, The Freedom Through Literacy Award has disbursed (including 2018 winners) $29,000 and has honored 25 individual champions of literacy in the United States, the Philippines, Bhutan, Pakistan, Rwanda, Cambodia and Mexico. 

 

Visit our Freedom Through Literacy Award Page

 

96th Library-Mexico joins 18 other countries

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Judith’s Reading Room Expands Globally with       Announcement of its 96th Library

Mexico joins 18 other countries to open a Judith’s Reading Room Library

April 16, 2018 — Lehigh Valley, Pa.  Judith’s Reading Room, a non-profit organization founded in 2010 to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy announced today the opening of its 96th library in its 19th country with The Palapa Society of Todos Santos, Mexico. 
The Palapa Society of Todos Santos is a non-profit whose mission is to create prepared 21st Century learners.  The organization was a 2017 Judith’s Reading Room Freedom Through Literacy Award winner and received a check in the amount of $500.  With that, they purchased approximately 50 children’s books in English and Spanish including BFG by Roald Dahl and Frida by Jonah Winter.   
The effort to teach English at the Biblioteca Infantil (Children’s Library) is to counter the low level of household literacy and reading habits in the Todos Santos community.  Compounding the problem is that local public schools do not have libraries nor do the classrooms contain books outside of textbooks.  The Palapa Society aims to change all that through the collaboration with Judith’s Reading Room.  Joy O’Brien, Program Director of The Palapa Children’s Library said “ the 162 ‘library enthusiasts’ were waiting to get their hands on the new books donated by Judith’s Reading Room. “ 
The 2018 Judith’s Reading Room Freedom Through Literacy Award application process is underway.  The 2018 Award will grant $4,500 in prizes.  The deadline to apply at www.JudithsReadingRoom.org/APPLY is July 6, 2018.  Since its inception, Judith’s Reading Room has dedicated 96 libraries in 19 countries with 127,679 books worth nearly $1.4 million dollars.  The Freedom Through Literacy Award has disbursed $24,500 and has honored 19 individual champions of literacy in the United States, the Philippines, Bhutan, Pakistan, Rwanda, Cambodia and Mexico. 

From The Palapa Society of Todos Santos

Por fin or finally as we say in English! Here is a foto of a few of our 162 “card-carrying” library enthusiasts waiting eagerly to get their hands on the new books donated by Judith’s Reading Room. Just as there are only a very few of the kids in the foto, it is also only a portion of the books that were purchased with your generous donation. The others flew off the shelves before the foto could be made. Not a day goes by that one of the books that Judith’s Reading Room purchased is not being checked out for the enjoyment of our kids. We can’t thank you enough….
Joy O’Brien, Program Director of the Palapa Children’s Library (Biblioteca Infantil), Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, Mexico

2018 Freedom Through Literacy Press Release

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NEWS RELEASE  
CONTACT:  Cathy Leiber
484-661-6151
Judith’s Reading Room Announces Its 2018 “Freedom Through Literacy” Award

Changes to the 2018 Award will encourage teachers, librarians, and authors

January 29, 2018 — Lehigh Valley, Pa.  Judith’s Reading Room, a non-profit literacy organization founded in 2010, is currently accepting applications for its 2018 “Freedom Through Literacy” Award.  Changes to the 2018 Award will encourage  teachers, librarians and authors both here and around the world.

The 4th annual “Freedom Through Literacy” Award, the signature element of Judith’s Reading Room, will honor a Top Prize winner with $3,000 cash.  The “Judith’s Award,” a new prize category, in the amount of $500, is designed exclusively for teachers, librarians and authors.  They are also eligible to win the Top Prize.  

A second new prize is announced today:  Prize totals vary — up to a total of $1,000 — Board members will nominate, on a rolling basis, champions of literacy.  Called
“Board Option” this prize engages board members to be “on the lookout,” constantly, for exemplary individuals whose work instills in others a love of reading. 

Applications for the 2018 “Freedom Through Literacy” Award are available on line at www.JudithsReadingRoom.org/APPLY.  Anyone working in the field of literacy — teachers, librarians, authors, educators, booksellers — is encouraged to apply.  Deadline for Applications: July 6, 2018.  

Since its inception in 2010,  Judith’s Reading Room has dedicated 95 libraries in 18 countries with over 127,000 books valued at nearly $1.4 million dollars.  Since 2015, $24,500 cash has been awarded to winners of the “Freedom Through Literacy” Award.

Por fin or finally as we say in English! Here is a foto of a few of our 162 “card-carrying” library enthusiasts waiting eagerly to get their hands on the new books donated by Judith’s Reading Room. Just as there are only a very few of the kids in the foto, it is also only a portion of the books that were purchased with your generous donation. The others flew off the shelves before the foto could be made. Not a day goes by that one of the books that Judith’s Reading Room purchased is not being checked out for the enjoyment of our kids. We can’t thank you enough….
Joy O’Brien, Program Director of the Palapa Children’s Library (Biblioteca Infantil), Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, Mexico

2017 Freedom Through Literacy Award Winners Announced

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CONTACT:  Cathy Leiber
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2017 Freedom Through Literacy Award Winners Announced

July 24, 2017 — Lehigh Valley, Pa. — Judith’s Reading Room proudly announces this year’s Top Prize winner of its 3rd annual Freedom Through Literacy Award is Lisa Lucas, National Book Foundation, New York, for their 10 year old literacy project titled, “BookUp.” BookUp is a reading program that serves more than 500 middle school aged children, older teens and young adults, led by published writers in four states. Students discuss quality literature in a book club format, go on field trips to cultural institutions and receive free books to build their home libraries. The Top Prize award is valued at $3,000.

William Whipple, Easton, Pa, will receive $1,000 for his passionate work with TEACH Rwanda and its project called, “Stories in Kinyarwanda.” Children’s literature in Rwanda is an emerging endeavor and TEACH Rwanda is determined to improve the quality and accessibility of culturally genuine, captivating Rwandan literature for young children. TEACH Rwanda was also a Runner-Up in 2016.

This year’s Honorable Mention is awarded to The Palapa Society of Todos Santos, Mexico. Founded in 2003, this grassroots nonprofit promotes the “love of reading” and bringing literacy to communities without the means or access to books given their high cost and limited availability in Mexico. To support their children’s library, Judith’s Reading Room will purchase $500 worth of new books.

Judith’s Reading Room, a literacy nonprofit based in the Lehigh Valley, Pa, was founded in 2010 in memory of Judith Krug, first cousin to the founders. Judy, a librarian, dedicated her 40 year career at the American Library Association to protect the freedom to read. The mission of Judith’s Reading Room is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy. To date, the organization has fulfilled that mission by shipping more than 127,000 books to deployed troops and dedicating 95 libraries in 18 countries with books valued at nearly $1.4 million dollars.

Visit our Freedom Through Literacy Award Page

2017 “Freedom Through Literacy” Award July 7 Midnight Deadline Approaches

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CONTACT:  Cathy Leiber
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 2017 “Freedom Through Literacy” Award
July 7 Midnight Deadline Approaches

July 5, 2017 — Lehigh Valley, Pa.   Judith’s Reading Room, a nonprofit literacy organization founded in 2010, reminds the public that the application for its 3rd annual “Freedom Through Literacy Award” is Friday, July 7 at midnight.  The application is available at www.judithsreadingroom.org.

The Award honors individual champions of literacy from all disciplines around the world — teachers, librarians, authors, researchers, educators, literacy non-profit leaders — anyone who has done exemplary work to instill in others a love of reading.  Top prize is $3,000 and one runner-up will be awarded $1,000.  An honorable mention will be eligible to win $500 value in new books.

One change marks the 2017 Award:  First, Judith’s Reading Room will accept “nominations by self” and also nominations for others.  Therefore, if you are a student or a parent of a student and you love your teacher or librarian:  nominate them!

Since its inception, Judith’s Reading Room has established 95 libraries in 18  countries filled with more than 127,000 books valued at nearly $1.4 million. Judith’s Reading Room founded the “Freedom Through Literacy” Award in 2015.

Judith’s Reading Room Announces Changes to its 2017 “Freedom Through Literacy Award”

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Judith’s Reading Room Announces Changes to its

2017 “Freedom Through Literacy Award”

Lehigh Valley, Pa. – February 19, 2017 — Judith’s Reading Room, a local literacy nonprofit organization founded in 2010, announces changes to its third annual Freedom Through Literacy Award. The Award honors individual champions of literacy from all disciplines around the world — teachers, librarians, authors, researchers, educators — anyone who has done exemplary work to instill in others a love of reading.

Two changes were voted unanimously by the organization’s Board of Directors at its Annual Meeting that materially affect the organization’s 2017 “Freedom Through Literacy Award.”

First, in order to continue funding the Award into the future, without solicitation for contributions, the Board voted to change the prize money structure for the Award. Beginning with the 2017 Award, the top prize winner will receive $3,000 cash and one (1) runner-up will receive $1,000 cash. One Honorable Mention will receive $500 worth of new books to support their program.

Second, in order to conserve resources and to recognize that any international winner would most likely not be able to fly to the United States to attend an award dinner, the organization will not announce its winners at the Keystone State Reading Association conference. Instead, winners will be announced on the organization’s website and through social media no later than the end of July, 2017.

The Application for the 2017 Freedom Through Literacy Award is available on line and the deadline for applications is July 7, 2017.

Since its inception, Judith’s Reading Room has dedicated 95 libraries in 18 countries containing 127,179 books worth nearly $1.4 million.

$10,000 Freedom Through Literacy Award Deadline Nears

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CONTACT: Cathy Leiber
484-661-6151

$10,000 Freedom Through Literacy Award Deadline Nears

Judith’s Reading Room Seeks Champions of Literacy

December 21, 2015 — Bethlehem, Pa.

The 2016 Freedom Through Literacy Award deadline — January 26 — is one
month away and the $10,000 cash prizes are up for grabs, according to Cathy
Leiber, President of the nonprofit organization, Judith’s Reading Room.

The organization, with headquarters in Bethlehem, Pa, through its Freedom
Through Literacy Award, honors individual champions of literacy from all
disciplines around the world — teachers, librarians, authors, researchers, educators,
booksellers, media, missionaries, citizens — in a word, anyone who has done
exemplary work to instill in others a love of reading.

The Application is available on line at www.judithsreadingroom.org. The deadline for
submissions is January 26. The Application asks, for example, “Express your
individual philosophy about literacy,” and, “In as many ways as possible, please
describe the impact of your project.”

An international panel of 24 judges with diverse credentials will vote on the
Applications. Winners will be notified by April 13, 2016. Winners will be
announced at an Award Dinner co-hosted by the Colonial Association of Reading
Educators, on Wednesday, May 4th from 4:00-8:00 p.m. at Cedar Crest College in
Allentown, Pa.